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Redfish hit variety of lures, baits

October 9, 2015
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Everyone seems to have caught redfish fever and clients have been catching them on a variety of lures, baits and techniques.

The most exciting lure strike this past week came by way of a bass style buzzbait attack at sunrise. Two over-slot school reds where competing for the lure, with one of them actually leaving the water to dive back down on it presumably to kill it. Scary!

Reds crush spinnerbaits and buzzbaits so bass anglers always feel right at home when I hand them a baitcaster and spinnerbait for redfish.

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Capt. George Tunison

Other very memorable hits came when I took out a longtime client that only casts antique surface plugs. It's funny to hear the plop plop of a slowly reeled Arborgast Jitterbug on the salt flats. It brings back memories of huge night time bass catches until the memory suddenly is erased by a redfish eat that would make any 10-pound largemouth green(er) with envy.

Cast the shrimp or ladyfish steaks up under the tree and wait. Anglers who would not listen to my advice concerning their over-the-head hook sets lost a few bruisers this week. I won't mention Larry's name so as not to embarrass him, but remember when your hook is on bottom at the edge of the mangroves and a 10-pound water hog sporting golden fins eats your bait then feels the hook, it's a guarantee he will run as hard and as far back up under the branches as water allows. An over-the-head hook set instantly puts your line in the branches. Fish off!

When you get the bite (there will be no mistake as reds hit hard) have the rod tip touching or in the water and sweep the rod to the side using your hips. Fight the red or snook out to open water and away from the overhanging and always unforgiving sticks.

For me the most interesting redfish catches these past weeks involved fly rods and tailing fish around bars and off mangrove edges in both Pine Island and Matlacha passes.

Nothing prettier than a dozen fins glimmering in the morning sun. This is push pole or wading territory. This scene usually unfolds in really shallow water. If you are lucky enough to find a school of tailing fish and it's your first time seeing this flats phenomenon, the first rule is go into immediate stealth mode and stop all noise. Survey the situation and see the direction the school is feeding. Typically it's vacuum the bottom and keep moving mode for the ravenous future 50-pounders.

Always cast to the edge of the school so as not to alarm the entire group, which then suddenly disappears. Edge casting and remaining quiet allows you to often pick off several fish.

To keep them interested I often use a bait-bat to broadcast shrimp pieces or live baits to whet their piggish appetites and keep the bite going strong.

Cast a jig, a spoon, topwater, or a nice ladyfish chunk on a spinner or baitcaster and you'll probably get bite. There is something magical about the fly rod-fish connection that you can't get or "feel" with typical fishing equipment. It really is special and quite different.

Shallow Pine Island and the whole surrounding area (inshore on the mangrove flats as well as offshore, or in the passes) and fly fishing is perfectly made for each other. Each year I try to teach the joys of the fly rod.

For three years I've hosted my very popular Total Beginners Flyrod Course. This reasonably priced, two-hour, one-on-one course with a licensed pro jumpstarts your own fly adventures. Show up at the dock - no equipment required. Fly fishing is NOT hard.

Call for reservations and don't miss out on one of angling's greatest thrills.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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